A special court in Mumbai on Friday dropped the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act invoked against Sadhvi Pragya Singh, Lt Col S P Purohit and nine other accused in 2008 Malegaon bomb blast case, saying none of them is part of an organised crime syndicate.
Designated Judge Y B Shinde, presiding over the special court, said none of the accused had more than one chargesheet filed against him or her for invoking provisions of MCOCA.
As provisions of Indian Penal Code would apply now, the case would be heard by a sessions court in Nashik.
Additional Director General of Police (Anti-Terrorism Squad) K P Raghuvanshi said they would appeal against the MCOCA court's judgement in the Bombay High court.
"The court has only said that MCOCA is not applicable in the case and the certified copy of the order is still awaited," Raghuvanshi told PTI.
"We have also obtained a stay on the execution of the order and have got four weeks to apply to the High Court challenging the order," he said.
Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on September 29, 2008, at Malegaon, a communally-sensitive textile town in North Maharashtra district of Nashik.
Earlier this year, the Anti-Terrorist Squad filed a 4,000-page chargesheet against 11 accused. The chargesheet alleged Malegaon was selected as the blast target because Muslims form sizeable part of its population.
It named Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Purohit and Swami Dayanand Pandey as the key conspirators. The chargesheet further alleged it was Pandey who had instructed Purohit to arrange for RDX while Sadhvi owned the motorcycle used in the blast.
Ajay Rahirkar, another accused, allegedly organised finances for the terror act while conspiracy meetings were held at Bhonsala Military School in Nashik.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has it would move the High Court challenging the dropping of MCOCA charges.
"The government would approach the High Court over the issue," Minister of State for Home Naseem Khan told PTI.
The government 'would seek justice for the Malegaon blast victims and would challenge the ruling of the special court in the High Court', the Minister said.
"We have been given a four-week period to appeal and we will do so," he said.